Displaying items by tag: protests
Since the February 1st military takeover, at least 1,045 protesters have been killed by security forces, and over 6,000 are currently in detention. The UK’s foreign ministry said it would impose an asset freeze on conglomerate Htoo Group of Companies and its founder Tay Za, who is involved in arms deals on behalf of the military coup leaders. The military junta has shown no signs of halting its brutal attack on the people of Myanmar and the UK with its partners will continue to restrict the junta’s access to finance and confine the supply of arms used to kill innocents, including children. The US has sanctioned Myanmar’s Minister of Information Chit Naing, Minister for Investment Aung Naing Oo, Labour and Immigration minister Myint Kyaing, and Thet Thet Khine, the minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, as well as three members of the powerful State Administrative Council and their families – who are linked to the military coup.
Activists have begun two weeks of London protests 'targeting the root cause of the climate crisis'. On 24 August protesters lined London streets with placards, waved banners and erected obstacles to disrupt and block roads around Westminster. They blocked off roads, glued themselves to a giant table, and formed a human chain around the area cordoned off by police. Dozens were carried to police vans by officers who used loudspeakers to warn the crowd to leave or risk arrest. At least 10,000 people congregated near the rallies; by 26 August 196 people had been arrested. The group's co-founder gave a speech expressing solidarity with nations disproportionately affected by climate change. Pray for all the police forces to respond appropriately and proportionately to protest activity in the next fortnight, and for a workable policing plan.
Two days after the Taliban captured Kabul, Iran's foreign ministry said its embassy continues its normal operations. Its consulate in Herat, close to the Iranian border, also remains fully operational. Iran's embassy is among a handful of foreign missions still open, including the embassies of Russia, China and Pakistan. All have signalled possible recognition of an emerging Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In the midst of the withdrawal of American and foreign troops from Afghanistan, Tehran hosted Taliban and government delegations in an effort to be a key player in the political scene. Iranian officials and state-funded media face accusations of attempting to ‘canonise the Taliban’. The move is not welcomed by the Iranian public or pro-reform papers. Iran's social media is inundated with messages of solidarity with the ‘betrayed’ Afghan people. Individual Iranians are volunteering to adopt abandoned Afghan children.
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led Myanmar’s coup, declared himself prime minister and said military rule and a state of emergency will continue until 2023; then the country will hold elections. This contradicts his earlier claims that political freedoms would soon be restored. People protested in Mandalay and the police shot them with no warning. Since February, security forces have killed 1,000 people and arrested 5,000. Covid-19 is rampant. Cemeteries are full and the government is not helping by blocking oxygen shipments. On 8 August fresh protests broke out against military rule, to coincide with the anniversary of 1988 pro-democracy protests. Civilians, including healthcare workers, quit working to protest the military’s overthrow of an elected government. Christians have been giving out food and water to the needy - widows who cannot get out for any kind of food. They mention they’re doing this because they’re followers of Christ. Unfortunately, that is interpreted as insurrection.
Historic and spontaneous protests rocked Cuba on 11 July, taking the communist government and the international community by surprise by their intensity and numbers. Analysts say there will not be immediate changes to one-party communist rule, but it’s a watershed moment and they have put an enormous amount of pressure on the government to speed up reforms. Cubans experiencing food and medicine shortages, increasing Covid-19 cases, inflation, rising prices and long power cuts chanted ‘Freedom’ and ‘We want change’, while holding signs that read ‘Down with dictatorship’. Journalist Yoani Sánchez tweeted, ‘We were so hungry, we ate our fear.’ Dr. Teo Babun said dissent has been brewing in the church for months. Evangelicals and Catholics have been generating a tremendous amount of social media, demanding the government pay attention to the hurt taking place. Political changes depend on whether demonstrators continue the momentum that stunned so many on 11 July.
With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster.
The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing moulds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile.
Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbours or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervour through 48-volume book sets called “My Home Is in China.” Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Under Xi Jinping, China’s leader, the Communist Party has grown tired of Hong Kong’s duelling identities. To the party, they made the city unpredictable, even bringing it to the edge of rebellion in 2019, when anti-government protests erupted.
Now, armed with the expansive national security law it imposed on the city one year ago, Beijing is pushing to turn Hong Kong into another of its mainland megacities: economic engines where dissent is immediately smothered.
The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instil “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.
All of this has led to a wave of emigration. Many Hong Kongers have applied for immigration visas to the United Kingdom through their British National Overseas (BNO) status. According to a report by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford in May, 34,000 Hong Kongers have applied to live in the UK in the first three months of 2021, whilst The Times reports that 100,000 people have left in the last 12 months. This is particularly true of families with children who believe that the ‘old’ Hong Kong is now lost.
At the same time, at least three major US tech companies, Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google, have threatened to leave Hong Kong in protest at planned changes to data-protection laws as the pro-Chinese government cracks down on dissent.
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), an industry body backed by the US tech firms, warned Hong Kong’s personal data privacy commissioner that proposed amendments to privacy laws may force its members to stop investing there.
Pray with us for the safety of those who stand against China’s authoritarian rule of Hong Kong
Pray with us for wisdom as families and individuals determine whether to stay of leave
Pray with us for the Church in Hong Kong to remain strong in the face of suppression (Acts 20:28-30)
A teacher who showed pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad is in fear for his life. His parents have also gone into hiding, amid growing concerns the wider family may be targeted and even killed by extremists. Mass protests have been held outside the school since the teacher used the cartoon in a lesson looking at blasphemy. A Paris teacher was beheaded in October after showing his class the same image. Despite appealing for calm, local leaders have noticeably stopped short of calling for the protests to stop. Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said teachers should be allowed to show such images in free society. ‘We want religions to be taught to children and children to be able to question and query them.’ 70,000 people signed a petition supporting the teacher, but anger grows as others demand that he goes.
The military held its first news conference since toppling the government. They said the armed forces would not remain in power for long, and would ‘hand power back to the winning party’ following another election. On 18 February the military ordered more arrests, and civil servants went on strike. Large numbers have protested for 16 days. ‘It is incredible to witness that our people are unified. People’s power must return to the people,’ actor Lu Min wrote on Facebook. Many of the country’s lawyers have joined the Red Ribbon Campaign calling for the restoration of democracy in the country. The Defend Lawyers website reported that forty barristers could face prosecution for participating in the anti-coup movement. Doctors Without Borders are ‘gravely concerned’ about the recent arrests and detentions of health care workers and other civilians. The situation has the potential to severely interrupt the lifesaving healthcare that they and others have been providing to the most vulnerable people in the country, particularly in the time of the Covid pandemic.
Ahead of the March elections, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is repeating promises he made nine years ago to control crime rates in Arab towns and villages. A recent firefight broke out on 1 February, when the police tried to stop men from shooting at a house. The Arab gang started shooting at the police with automatic weapons. When it was over, two young people were dead. One was suspected of firing at the house, but the other, Ahmed Hijazi, was a nursing student who happened to be in the vicinity but was not involved in the incident. The next day, thousands from local Arab towns and villages took to the street to protest Hijazi’s death and the police's inability to rein in crime in Arab society. Over the weekend, thousands more marched against escalating crime rates. Netanyahu has spent the last few weeks visiting Arab towns and villages and holding Zoom meetings with Arab mayors to discuss crime and violence in their towns.
Indian farmers have been protesting against farm acts passed by the parliament last September. Their unions have demanded the laws be repealed, and will accept nothing less. The new acts, which exclude guarantees giving farmers a fair price for their produce, are described as ‘anti-farmer laws’ by the unions and opposition politicians. Since September the protests have become more violent. On 26 November a nationwide general strike by 250 million people took place in support of the farmer unions,and on 30 November 300,000 farmers converged in various places from the Punjab to Delhi. On 26 January tens of thousands violently fought the police, overturned vehicles, and hoisted religious flags from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort. See